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Open AccessArticle

Structure of Attention and the Logic of Visual Composition

School of Architecture, Georgia Institute of Technology, 247 4th Street NW, Atlanta, GA 30030, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Behav. Sci. 2014, 4(3), 226-242;
Received: 31 March 2014 / Revised: 21 June 2014 / Accepted: 23 June 2014 / Published: 30 July 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spatial Cognition and Behaviour)
PDF [721 KB, uploaded 30 July 2014]


Two groups of subjects were presented with two façade designs, one with the front façade of the existing Atlanta Public Library, an exercise in modern abstract plastic composition by the Bauhaus-trained architect Marcel Breuer, and the other with alteration that toned down its plasticity and enhanced simple relations of its parts like symmetry and repetition. The subjects were asked to recall and copy the façades. The results showed that while significantly more students recalled elements of the altered façade, the performance was equivocal for the façades for the copying task. However, the copying task showed the subjects making greater errors in reproducing elements and relations on the periphery, and those that reflect a reading of depth in the façades. We present an account of the experiment, making the case that the results show the influence of visual design of the façade on the way that an interested and involved viewer attends to it in the course of parsing and comprehending it. The broader implication of this point is to see the visual design of buildings not as simple means to increase its aesthetic value, but as a sophisticated means to lead the viewer to specific forms of imaginative engagement. View Full-Text
Keywords: visual composition; attention; schema; imaginative function visual composition; attention; schema; imaginative function
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Wright, K.B.; Bafna, S. Structure of Attention and the Logic of Visual Composition. Behav. Sci. 2014, 4, 226-242.

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